If you hear an unearthly sound during ‘Blood Ties’, it might be Sidney Lumet’s ghost attempting to contact his lawyer. This handsome, star-strewn tale of brotherly strife in 1970s Brooklyn owes so much to the late, great director of ‘Serpico’ and ‘Dog Day Afternoon’ – not to mention his disciple Martin Scorsese – that it feels like a pastiche. All the clichés are rolled out: one brother (Billy Crudup) is a straight-arrow cop, the other a redemption-hungry crook (Clive Owen, far too old and ridiculously moustachioed). Their Dad (James Caan) is old blue-collar crank with a heart of gold. The women in their lives – played, thanklessly, by the top-flight trio of Zoe Saldana, Marion Cotillard and Mila Kunis – are either scheming or helpless. The soundtrack is crammed with ’60s and ’70s pop gems – several of them instantly familiar from Scorsese’s movies – while the colour palette is all muted corduroy brown and rainy urban grey. The result is less a homage than a slavish, overproduced cover version, lacking all the spark and integrity of the original.
Cast and crew